Tuesday, November 3, 2009

51 Days & Counting - Keepsake Gingerbread Ornaments

It's easy to make adorable keepsake ornaments from altered gingerbread dough. (Although they do take a little pre-planning as the dough need to sit in the fridge overnight!) They look and smell like real cookies and, I believe, acrylic paint is easier to decorate with than real icing!! You can use them as tree ornaments, gift tags (that can then be hung as tree ornaments), adornment for wreaths, magnets, attached to baskets, garlands, etc.

This particular recipe is made with ingredients most of us already have on hand, rolls and cuts with cookie cutters just like regular gingerbread cookies but bakes up rock hard! They will even smell great for years and years!

I have found the scent comes through when you glaze them with a regular craft shellac but I prefer a polyurethane coating and that often eliminates the scent. It's your choice!

Recipe for Gingerbread Ornament Dough (NOT EDIBLE)

3 Tablespoons shortening
1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup molasses
1 Teaspoon baking soda
3/4 Cup flour
1 Teaspoon each of cloves, ginger and cinnamon

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Beat shortening & sugar together until light and fluffy. Stir in molasses.
*Sift the dry ingredients together. Stir them into the shortening mixture in 3 parts, alternating with 1/4 cup water each time. Dough will be stiff.

Refrigerate overnight.
*Cut dough into 3 pieces. Knead to warm dough slightly, then roll each piece to about 1/4 " thick.
*Use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out cookie shapes and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. (You can use parchment paper if you'd like.) **If you will be using these as hanging ornaments poke a hole in the top center of the shape using a sharp, pointy object. (I usually use a small Phillips screwdriver for this.)
***The hole will shrink about 50% during baking so be sure it is large enough for whatever type of ribbon or string you plan to use.

*Bake 20 minutes, then turn the oven off and let them cool in the oven.

*Remove from the cookie sheet and place on a rack to dry for approximately 3 days to harden. (I generally cover a clean, cold cookie sheet with wax paper and set my shapes on that. I stash them on top of a high bookshelf in my dining room and mark my calendar to remind me they are there. - Yes, I have forgotten them for days!)
*When set, you can seal the "cookies" with a clear acrylic shellac available in any craft store and use acrylic paints to decorate them.

These are inedible. They are purely for use as decorations.


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